Brentford were held to a 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest at Griffin Park, who held on for a point despite playing for nearly an hour with ten men. The Bees laid siege to the Forest goal for the whole of the second half but could not get the winner their play deserved.
The Bees made four changes from the team which started against Southend at Roots Hall with Eddie Hutchinson missing out through suspension and Stuart Nelson, Paul Brooker and Sam Tillen taking places on the substitute's bench, where they were joined by Scott Fitzgerald. Martin Allen was able to welcome back Sam Sodje after suspension and he took his place at centre back, with Andrew Frampton reverting to left back. Ademola Bankole started in goal with Isaiah Rankin and Marcus Gayle making up the Brentford 11.
Nottingham Forest got off to the best possible start when they took the lead within five minutes. They won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area when Bankole came out to punch and made contact with the ball outside the area, the assistant referee flagged for handball and Kris Commons' free kick beat Bankole after taking a deflection.
The goal boosted the visitors, Grant Holt could have doubled the lead when he rose at the far post, but just failed to meet a Nicky Southall free kick and it took a good block from Michael Turner to stop a thunderous Southall shot. Brentford had been below par early on with a Kevin O'Connor cross deflected onto the cross bar the closest they came in the early stages, but soon it was the home side on top.
Rankin began to get the measure of Julian Bennett, the Forest left back, and the ex-Walsall defender was booked for a foul on the Bees man. Chances began to come for the home side, Rankin had a shot saved by Paul Gerrard and Dudley Campbell shot wide after a good run, which took him past two defenders.
The Bees got their equaliser ten minutes before the break when a nice dinked ball from Ricky Newman found Rankin inside the box, he was forced wide but managed to get a shot away that Gerrard saved, the ball fell to Campbell and his shot cannoned off the crossbar. John Thompson had a chance to clear but dithered in possession and Lloyd Owusu nipped in to tackle him, it dropped to Campbell who scored with ease from six yards.
Brentford were now well on top with Campbell, now moved to the right side, a menace. It was no surprise when Bennett brought him crashing down nine minutes before the interval and referee Russell showed him a second yellow card.
The sending off seemed to shake the visitors and Brentford had chances to get ahead before half time. Newman had a shot well saved by Gerrard; Tabb had one blocked moments later and Owusu shot wide after controlling a long ball. The Bees best chance came after another nice piece of play by Owusu, he held off a defender and slipped the ball through to Newman, who had made a break from midfield, but his shot was saved by Gerrard.
The Bees came out for the second half and continued the pressure, Newman fed Owusu in the left channel and he set off towards goal, he cut inside Thompson and was preparing to shoot when the Forest man got back with a last ditch tackle. Campbell could have scored a second when he raced onto a long ball, he was clear of the home defence but decided to shoot early and shot wide. Owusu had a shot saved after cutting in from the left and O'Connor blasted wide after controlling a Frampton cross.
Forest were causing problem intermittently on the break and Holt brought a save from Bankole when he met a long ball from Ian Breckin, Brentford went straight down the other end and Rankin shot wide when he latched onto an O'Connor header. Southall had a deflected free kick saved by Bankole while at the other end a great run from substitute Tillen ended with a cross which fell to Frampton, his shot flew narrowly wide, with Rankin just unable to get a touch, Owusu then curled a shot inches wide.
Bankole was called into action again when Commons stung his palms with a vicious free kick after Sodje was penalised for hand ball on the edge of the area but it at the other end where most of the action came. Newman shot over the bar and with ten minutes to go Brentford had a great chance to edge ahead. Frampton fed Newman and his cross was met by Campbell six yards out but Gerrard saved.
The home side carved Forest open again a minute later, Newman was again at the centre of the move, his ball to Campbell was laid off to substitute Brooker, he slipped it across to O'Connor but he blasted it high over the bar. They had an even better opening with six minutes remaining when Turner strode out of defence and fed Owusu, he got away from Wes Morgan but shot wide.
The Bees continued to lay siege to the home goal and thought they had the winner they deserved in the 89th minute. A long throw from Tillen was flicked on by Sodje and fell to Campbell, his shot beat Gerrard but not Morgan on the line. Brooker came within a whisker of winning it when he came inside and let fly from twenty yards, a deflection seemed to take it past Gerrard but he stuck out a hand and earned his side a point.
Brentford: Bankole; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton (sub Fitzgerald 87 mins); Rankin (sub Brooker 79 mins), Newman, Tabb, Gayle (sub Tillen 64 mins); Owusu, Campbell
Subs (not used): Mousinho, Nelson
Written by Chris Wickham